Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bavaria, Germany

While my friend Emily was visiting we made a trip to Bavaria, Germany. Ever since I saw a photo of the Neuschwanstein Castle (aka: the "Fairy Tale Castle") which is what the Disney Castle is modeled after, I dreamed about seeing it in person. Well I can now check it off my "bucket list".

We had a beautifully snowy day that made for the perfect setting to see the castle. We also got to see the second castle, Hohenschwangau Castle which was where the parents of Ludwig II lived. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the castles but they are definitely worth seeing both inside and out! The surrounding area was very charming as well. The hotel where we stayed was family owned and we were the only ones there for the night so we had the entire place to ourselves. It felt more like a bed and breakfast because of that or even more like we were in town visiting family because they were so accommodating and friendly to us. If you wish to visit Bavaria I definitely recommend going in the winter truly felt like a winter wonderland.

Standing in front of the "Fairy Tale Castle" with my prince! :)

Neuschwanstein Castle surrounded by snow covered trees

Horse drawn carriage near the castle

Jared and I in front of Hohenschwangau Castle.

View from the castle

Emily spinning for joy in the Bavarian winter wonderland

The partially frozen Alpsee Lake in Bavaria

Restaurant where we had lunch. Loved the German mural.

Jared very excited about his authentic German sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut 

Charming hotel that we had all to ourselves

The hotel restaurant had AMAZING apple strudel! 

Em and I enjoying a German pint back at the hotel

Shopping streets in Bavaria, Germany

Window shopping in Bavaria, Germany

Hohenschwangau Castle all lit up at night

Hope you enjoyed our little mini vacation with us! And I hope you all get a chance to see it for yourselves in person someday! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012


"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, [child] of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:6)

The very first line of this verse leaped out at me. "...godliness with contentment is great gain." Being content does not come naturally to us. It seems to be our human nature to always want more. To never be satisfied with what we have. I could rattle off a list of things I want right now...I want to be home closer to my family, I want to have a car, I want to lose weight, I want a bigger bank account, I want to go shopping...but all I really NEED is my Saviour. And when I quiet my mind and stop allowing myself to get caught up in everyday distractions, I realize He's all I really WANT too.

All of these things we want can never satisfy and bring true contentment like Jesus can. There is a gap in our hearts that can only be filled with His love and grace and when we try to fill that void with other things, like relationships, money, sex, drugs and/or entertainment, we'll never feel fulfilled or whole. That's the beauty of Jesus...He brings fullness...He delivers peace...He supplies everything we want and need. Contentment is found through Him alone.

 We have everything we'll ever need so long as we have Jesus. If we stop trying to replace Him with things then we will find the peace we are ultimately searching for. As my Dad says... "The most important things in life aren't never see a U-Haul follwing a hearse." Which is exactly what this verse is saying:"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." The most valuable thing we can ever have is our salvation in Jesus Christ. 

Have you found contentment in Jesus? His peace is freely and eternally yours.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Skiing In The Swiss Alps

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Emily came to visit us recently and we got to see lots of new places and enjoy some awesome new experiences with her. The highlight of our time together was probably skiing in The Alps. It was my first time ever skiing so it was more like falling than it was skiing, but wow did we have an awesome view! Jared and I had been to the quaint snowy town of Zermatt, Switzerland once before when my parents were here but it was very cloudy that day. This trip we had perfect weather not only for skiing, but for seeing the infamous Matterhorn...the most popular peak in Europe. You better believe I took LOTS of pictures! :) Here are just a few of my favourites....

Zermatt, Switzerland

The mighty Matterhorn up close and personal! :)

Jared and I skiing & snowboarding in the Swiss Alps near the Matterhorn
That is the slope behind was so steep and scary...but beautiful! :)

Jared and I in front of The Matterhorn

Me & The Matterhorn :)

Right before hitting the slopes!

Em in front of The Matterhorn

Jared and I on the streets of Zermatt with the Matterhorn as our backdrop

One of the many gorgeous views of the town of Zermatt

Zermatt Cathedral

Zermatt at night

Enjoying a pint at the local pub after a full day of skiing

Cute little bakery in Zermatt, Switzerland

Cluster of chalets in Zermatt, Switzerland

Enjoying the views!

Zermatt is definitely one of our favourite spots in Switzerland. It was nice to have a mini-vacation from everyday life here.We enjoyed lots of laughs and made a lifetime of memories. Lots more to share with you from our adventures with Emily! I still have tons of photos to go through from our travels so keep checking back for those! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Birthday Love

Yesterday marked the beginning of my last year in my twenties. I am officially 29-years-old. It's also my last birthday in Switzerland and I can't tell you how good that sounds! I'm really looking forward to 30 because it means I will be celebrating State-side! I may start sounding like a broken record, but I am SO ready and excited to be home!

As you know, I share the same birthday with my nephew, Isaac. To this day he is THE BEST gift I've ever received on my birthday. Followed by Tot, who was my birthday gift in 2010. Thanks to Skype, I was able to (virtually) be at Isaac's birthday party in Indiana. I'm SO thankful that despite the distance between me and my loved ones I can still virtually enjoy those special moments with them. I cannot believe my birthday buddy is SIX! He's such a smart, spirited and impressive kid! I'm so proud of that boy! Can't wait to give him a big hug in a few more months!!

Birthday flowers from Jared and photo of my birthday buddy! <3

Aside from enjoying my family from afar the best birthday gift I received was news from the vet that Tot's culture came back negative. He has been sick for nearly 3 months with a nasty bacterial infection in his ear and after many trips to the vet, countless nights of dosing him with various meds and LOTS of prayer...we finally got a miracle. The vet told us how concerned they were about the bacteria being fatal or possibly causing Tot to be on medication for the rest of his life...his chances of full recovery were very slim they told us. And although they want to play it safe by continuing to keep him on the meds for a few more weeks to ensure that the bacteria is definitely out of his system...the vet is very optimistic...and so are we. He is acting much more like his old self which indicates he is feeling much better. Poor guy went through a lot! So did was so hard to watch him fight this with the fear that he may not make it. He was so weak, lethargic and out of it for so long. It's a huge answer to prayer to see him active, with his appetite back and being his funny, sweet self again! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and please continue to pray that the bacteria is gone for good and doesn't relapse!

Tot and I on my birthday...yes those are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pjs! 
They are kind of awesome! :)

On top of these blessings, Jared and I got to enjoy a visit from my best friend, Emily a few weeks ago. She was here for about 2 weeks and we made lots of great memories with her! I'll have to share photos and stories from our adventures with her in a future post.

Before I end this post I want to say thank you for all of the birthday love I received through phone calls, emails, texts and comments. I am overwhelmingly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family in my life! Each one of you made this year and my birthday so incredibly special! And thanks to the generosity of friends and family, together, we were able to raise $275 (and counting) for Compassion International that will help children and families in need. God bless you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Anniversary Cruise - Part VII

The last port we visited on our anniversary cruise was Venice, Italy. I had seen photos and paintings of Venice for years and had a dreamy idea of what it would look like in person. It definitely has a daydream feel. Take a look at some of the photos from our trip and see for yourself...

Venice shoreline taken from our balcony on the cruise

Venice shoreline taken from our balcony on the cruise

Gondola rides

Gondolas on the Grand Canal

One of the many canals in Venice

Floating farmer's market in Venice

One of the many decorative windows in Venice

Large, ornate cathedral in Venice

Distressed buildings with lots of character

Grand Canal at sunset

Venice skyline silhouette

To view the rest of the blogs from our anniversary cruise series click HERE